It can be daunting, if you have graduated from law school in this historically tough market for legal jobs. Even as recent as in June 2013, the BLS reported a net loss of 3600 legal jobs, and going by the indications of big law firms, who are trying hard to emulate the heartlessness of corporate culture, getting law jobs is going to take some careful planning and diligent work. If you are to survive, you need to be diligent in your legal job search and cannot afford to become frustrated or lose heart. |
There’s no doubt that all law students receive sufficient guidance from the career guidance or career development offices in their law schools. However, sometimes things just don’t happen to click, and even good law students fail to get jobs as summer associates, and excellent summer associates may fail to get hired – something that happened in the case of summer associates at Dewey LeBoeuf.
Though the case of Dewey was an extreme case of corporate gambling gone awry in the hands of a few, restructuring and optimization has now become a continual process in law firms, as has periodic downsizing. This, of course, is not something created to put new law graduates in despair, but to ensure that the legal industry can meet the demands of reality and survive.
In fact it’s better for you – not that there are so few legal jobs in the market, but that the industry is adapting and consequently facing pain. It’s not just your bad luck, but the misfortune of quite a few generations of law graduates that they are entering the market in a bad economic phase. But everyone is going to come out of this stronger.
The current economy is forcing all stakeholders in the legal industry, from those providing legal jobs to those seeking them, to understand, accept, and adapt to a reality they have been ignoring for long. Corporate companies and even small businesses not in the legal sector, and which are not so steeped in tradition have been much faster to respond to new technological developments, and adapted their business models likewise.
The legal industry was slower to react, and that is why when in 2008 the rest of the economy was panting from weakness, the legal industry was going strong, and in 2013, when the rest of the economy is well on towards recovery, the legal industry still seems caught in the throes of recession.
This is why there are so few legal jobs in the market – not because there are no jobs, but that the focus of human endeavour in the legal industry is shifting and the nature of legal jobs is undergoing a sea change. While that change has already occurred across other industries, in law departments and law firms, the flux is still in full force and equilibrium has not yet been reached.
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